Debt-ridden HNA Group to offload Swissport

Business | 12 Oct 2018 6:25 pm

HNA Group Co is in advanced talks to sell its Swiss airport-cargo handler to a Canadian asset manager, Bloomberg reported. This could be the debt-laden Chinese conglomerate’s biggest disposal since it unloaded its Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. stake in April.

Brookfield Asset Management Inc., based in Toronto, has emerged as the preferred bidder for Swissport International, according to people familiar with the matter. Swissport -- which also offers ticketing, cabin cleaning and aircraft maintenance -- could fetch more than US$3 billion, the people said.

An agreement would build on what’s already been one of China’s biggest corporate garage sales in history. HNA is facing pressure to reduce the unsustainable debt levels accumulated in recent years, when it was at the forefront of the country’s global buying binge. Other high-profile Chinese trophy hunters such as Anbang Insurance Group Co. and Dalian Wanda Group Co. have also been hunkering down by selling assets worldwide.

Representatives for HNA, Brookfield and Swissport declined to comment.

While the Swissport talks are at an advanced stage, no final decisions have been made and they could still fall apart, the people said. Other bidders remain interested in the asset, the people said.

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